Monday, October 13, 2008

Voters Becoming More Comfortable With President Obama


Many have made allusions duringthis election to 1980. Back then, the country was concerned whether to hand Oval Office to Ronald Reagan. Although, he was the governor of California, the perception that this Western cowboy, former Hollywood movie star would make a good president was something Americans had to get comfortable with.

Twenty-eight years later, Sen. Barack Obama is facing the same questions. He's too young, too inexperienced, too black(?). Like Reagan in 1980, voters may have forged a comfort level late in the campaign with the young Illinois senator that may clinch victory next month.

A new Washington Post poll reveals some poignant numbers that seem to point to this fact. Among the tidbits:
  • Obama numbers now equal McCain's on which candidate's economic plan will lower their taxes.
  • The number of undecided voters has shrunk to 13 percent.
  • Two-thirds of voters who rank the economy as the country's biggest problem side with Obama.
Most importantly, it seems the low-key and confident demeanor of Obama during the debates as opposed to McCain's sometime huffing and puffing and doddering strolls around the stage have eased voter anxieties about the candidate. The question is, "could they be comfortable with Obama in the White House?" The answer is increasingly looking like, yes.
Nearly two-thirds of voters, 64 percent, now view Obama favorably, up six percentage points from early September. About a third of voters have a better opinion of the senator from Illinois because of his debate performances, while 8 percent have a lower opinion of him. By contrast, more than a quarter said they think worse of McCain as a result of the debates, more than double the proportion saying their opinion had improved.
Forget that Obama is now consistently polling in the low 50 percent range, roughly 10 points up on McCain. It's still too early to extrapolate national numbers when the electoral college may be out of whack in Obama's favor with the actual vote tally.

It is notable that the number of undecided voters is shrinking, though. With fewer "movable" voters, the less likely wild fluctuations in the polls will occur. Certainly bad news for McCain as he attempts to find an issue to sway voters.

Pundits after two presidential debates and one VP debate consistently said the interactions would do little to break open the race. Those pundits are usually wrong.

Taken with the pretext that a clear winner would be called on the presumption that the other would massively flub a line, breakdown in tears or bleed from the eyes and ears, there could not possibly be a winner.

Pundits pontificate, voters vote.

Obama is exciting, exotic, a brilliant orator and calming figure. It's not that he's a biracial candidate (this is the correct term), but seemingly too good to be true. When McCain referred to him as "that one", Obama's reaction was, literally, no reaction.

It's becoming more clear, that the voter's reaction is something quite the opposite.

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